If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about the fact that your thyroid relates to EVERY other system in your body, and every other system can be affected by thyroid dysfunction — even your reproductive system.
That’s because our hormones are always in a delicate balance with one another; a change in one hormone changes the dance. When we introduce hormones artificially, as with hormonal contraceptives, it throws everything out of balance, and our body doesn’t know how to react.
I was on the pill from age 15–33 — almost half my life before I finally went off it. What I didn’t realize until I went off it was how much the pill had affected my mood, body and personality. It wasn’t until after it cleared my body that I realized I was actually a “normal” person and not bat guano crazy as I had felt almost my entire life because of my polarizing mood swings.
As I explored the research for healing my own thyroid and Hashimoto’s condition, I learned the role that hormonal birth control can have on thyroid conditions, and it’s not pretty.
Two main ways hormonal birth control interferes with thyroid function.
There are two main ways that the pill and other hormone birth control can interfere with your thyroid function:
1. Estrogen Dominance
Generally, the pill works by suppressing our natural hormonal cycle by flooding the body with doses of estrogen and progesterone. The drugs trick the body into believing it doesn’t need to produce progesterone, which thereby never allows ovulation or pregnancy.
The problem is that this constant imbalance of hormones can result in a condition called estrogen dominance — which can be caused by too much estrogen, or too little progesterone.
Either way, excess estrogen affects your TBG (Thyroxine Binding Globulin), which binds thyroid hormone, leaving less free thyroid hormone available to your system. If your thyroid hormones are already low, it can cause them to go even lower, exacerbating your condition.
2. Damages Gut Health
As you know, your gut health is intimately linked with your thyroid health (and health overall) and the pill can wreak havoc with your gut health.
- Birth control pills deplete the body of selenium, zinc and the amino acid tyrosine, all of which are vital for thyroid health
They can cause a shift in your immune system that can lead to autoimmune disorders.
The pill changes our natural gut flora, and can allow yeast and other bad organisms to thrive.
They suppress testosterone production, further imbalancing our endocrine systems.
And many contain lactose as a filler, which can be especially problematic for women with gluten and dairy intolerances.
In addition to these thyroid-specific risks, birth control pills are associated with long-term increased risk of blood clots and stroke, osteoporosis, and breast, ovarian and liver cancers.
Overall, many women are realizing that the risks are not worth it. Many other non-hormonal forms of birth control exist, including male and female condoms, fertility tracking and more, that in no way endanger your overall health for the sake of family planning.
For even more information, check out Sweetening The Pill by my friends Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake — and consider making a donation. Every dollar counts!
In addition to the article you just read, I provide a ton of resources on healing your thyroid naturally, including:
- Our totally free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Report and Coaching Sessions
- Right here on my blog, where I talk about what’s worked best for me and my clients, as well as the latest research and resources I come across. You can subscribe to get new blog posts delivered right to your email by signing up on the righthand side of the page.
- My book, Healing Hashimoto’s Naturally — part memoir, part instruction manual for how I personally healed my Hashimoto’s disease.
- My exclusive free 6 Thyroid Myths That Can Keep You From Healing workshop — with info on the comprehensive Thyroid Fix in 6 program, which walks you through, step-by-step, the exact actions you need to take to heal your thyroid and get your life back! We’ve seen hundreds of participants in the Thyroid Fix in 6 avoid, decrease, or even eliminate the need need for thyroid medications.
- The incredible Your Best Thyroid Life Video Bundle, in which I personally invited 27 of the world’s top health experts to share their best tips for living with and healing thyroid disease.
Remember, no matter what diagnosis or symptoms you’re facing, you always have a choice about your own body.
Jen Wittman is a Certified Holistic Health Expert, Chef, Author & Vitality Coach, who teaches women how to reverse thyroid and autoimmune conditions naturally. She’s helped hundreds of women decrease (or even eliminate) their thyroid medications and has helped others stay off thyroid medication entirely.
Through her free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Jen teaches easy and simple steps to thyroid healing that can fit into your busy day. She also provides print outs to bring to your next doctor’s appointment so you can get the support and respect you deserve.